IUPUI Researcher Lands Major Grants

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Christopher Harle (photo courtesy of IUPUI) Christopher Harle (photo courtesy of IUPUI)

A researcher at IUPUI has been awarded two major grants to develop tools to help primary care providers improve care for patients with chronic pain and to help clarify patient consent. The grants total $3 million.

Christopher Harle, associate professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at IUPUI, received a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Harle says his team will look into how to improve the care given to patients with chronic pain from primary care physicians.

"We want to understand at a pretty basic level how clinical work happens for chronic pain in primary care, how a doctor and other health care providers obtain information about patients when it comes to chronic pain, how they use that information at a detailed level, and how they make decisions regarding treatment," Harle said. "We want to understand those decision-making processes and the information needs of health care providers as well as the information they may not have."

The National Institutes of Health awarded the second grant, worth $1.9 million. IUPUI says Harle will work in collaboration with University of Florida researchers to "develop software that will help patients better understand what they are granting access to when they approve use of their electronic health records for research purposes."

Harle says because electronic health records are becoming more common, an individual patient's medical record could potentially be larger than just a file folder in a doctor's office. The proposed software tool would allow the patient to be more informed and actively consent to the use of their information.

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